News Blog

Smarden Primary and Nursery School is awarded 'Gold Standard' status in national School Mental Health Award

Posted on: 11th Dec 2023

The Kemnal Academies Trust is proud to announce that Smarden Primary and Nursery School, Ashford has been awarded Gold Standard status in the Carnegie, Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools ‘School Mental Health Award.'

The recent accreditation comes at the end of an extensive evaluation of the school, its culture, curriculum, policies and practices.

Here are some excerpts from the report:

‘The school values of ambition, respect and kindness are embedded throughout the school community… Leaders’ high expectations at Smarden extend to providing pupils with the very best pastoral support to nurture and empower them to flourish.'

‘Governors continue to support and understand the need to put mental health at the heart of everything the school does. The school is part of the TKAT Trust which places high importance on mental wellbeing for pupils and staff.’

‘The school provides excellent support for pupils to become confident, articulate, kind members of society.  The school mental health lead states that ‘every pupil is treated as an individual’ and mental health and wellbeing is an integral part of school life and weaves through everything they do.'

Smarden has also been one of the pilot schools to teach the 'Developing Emotions’ lessons which were developed by researchers at Queen Mary’s University College to teach children about emotions. The school has since trialled teaching these lessons throughout Key Stage 2. 

In June 2023, Smarden was invited to share its excellent practice in mental health and wellbeing at the TKAT Primary Wellbeing conference. This conference was jointly organised by Queen Mary’s University College and was attended by Headteachers, and wellbeing leads from across TKAT as well as many experts in the field of mental health and wellbeing from outside the Trust.

Smarden pupils produced a video about mental health which was shown at the conference as an example of best practice from within the Trust. The film is now used on Nurture UK courses across the country. (Watch the video at the bottom of this page).

Reactions to the accreditation have been numerous:

Headteacher and school leader for the project, Claudia Miller said:

I am extremely proud of the Gold award that Smarden has received from the Carnegie School of Mental Health. It reflects our core belief that good mental health is the most important prerequisite for pupils to fulfil their potential. At Smarden, we nurture and empower all to flourish.”

Rachel Ward, Director of Wellbeing at TKAT said:

““Well done to Claudia and her team for achieving the Carnegie Gold Award - Smarden is a school that puts good wellbeing at the heart of all they do. The influence they are having has been recognised not just Trust-wide, but now nationally too."

Dr Karen Roberts, TKAT CEO said:

 “I am delighted that this award recognises the hard work and dedication of our colleagues at Smarden Primary and Nursery School; it is a fantastic result. As a Trust, we celebrate this success - we understand the importance of mental wellbeing for our staff, pupils and wider school communities. Congratulations to Smarden for gaining this accreditation – we’re proud of you!”



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